Heart attack victim Graham Skilton thanks his saviours
A DAD who suffered a life-threatening heart attack believes he is only alive thanks to the quick thinking of his children and the speedy response of a group of volunteers.
When Graham Skilton collapsed at his daughter's house in Maidenbower on April 5, he faced a dire prognosis.
The ambulance was nearly quarter of an hour away and as his chances of survival were getting lower with every minute he needed treatment quickly.
Fortunately, his daughter, Julia Spindler, stayed calm and started CPR while his son, Charles Skilton, kept his airways clear.
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Hugh McKenna, a newly qualified community first responder, arrived a short while later, followed by his colleague and mentor Emily Leppenwell.
Mr McKenna, who lives in Three Bridges, used a defibrillator to shock Mr Skilton's heart back into a regular rhythm.
Mr Skilton said: "I'm fortunate I was in a house with young, fit people who knew what to do.
"Without Julia, Charles and the first responders, the outcome could have been very different."
Community first responders are volunteers trained in first aid and basic life-saving techniques.
They respond to emergencies when an ambulance cannot get there straight away.
Paramedic Sean Hardy, who with his colleagues Jade Palmer and Christian Marler took over Mr Skilton's treatment, said: "The longer time goes on the poorer the prognosis. That's why this scheme is so great. It allows early treatment before we arrive."
Mr Skilton had suffered a heart attack 23 years ago but had been in good health since.
His daughter Julia, who works as a nurse at East Surrey Hospital, said: "He had just come out of the dining room, he looked awful, and he said 'I don't feel very ...' and just collapsed."
The 63-year-old can remember nothing about that evening and woke up in hospital three days later.
Mr Skilton, who lives in Cheshire, returned to Maidenbower on Thursday to meet the team who saved his life.
He has been fitted with a defibrillator that will shock his heart back into a regular rhythm if he suffers another heart attack.